Length: 95 minutes
Release Date: August 16, 2002
Directed by: Ron Underwood
Genre: Comedy / Action / Sci-Fi
Luis Guzmán’s “The Adventures of Pluto Nash” is a rollicking sci-fi flick starring Eddie Murphy that follows a man who hunts down a dangerous entrepreneur after his lunar nightclub is destroyed. Although the premise is promising, “Pluto Nash” soon became one of the biggest cinematic flops in movie history. Viewers expecting uproarious comedy and stunning visual effects are sure to come away from this film disappointed, but the movie does have enough redeeming qualities to make it at least worth a watch.
In the not-so-distant future, Pluto Nash (Eddie Murphy) owns a nightclub called Club Pluto on a lunar colony known as Little America. He had purchased the club in order to protect his friend Anthony Frankowski (Jay Mohr), and it’s now a successful entertainment hub with a staff consisting of Pluto, an assistant and his trusty robot sidekick Bruno (Randy Quaid). When Dina Lake (Rosario Dawson) seeks employment at the club to help pay for her passage back to Earth after becoming stranded on the moon, Pluto accepts, giving her a job as a server.
Trouble arises when the minions of entrepreneur Rex Crater wish to buy the casino from Pluto, destroying it when he refuses. Pluto, Bruno and Dina manage to escape, and they begin investigating Crater, discovering that he spends his days in an expensive penthouse. They visit a cosmetic surgeon named Mona Zimmer (Illeana Douglas) and ask her to alter their bodies, posing as a married couple looking to spice up their relationship. In reality, they only wish to gain information from Mona as she was the apprentice of a geneticist who was somehow involved with Rex Crater.
As their investigation continues and Pluto gets closer to discovering who Crater truly is, their hideout is attacked by Crater’s minions, and a chase ensues. When an explosion makes the thugs believe that Pluto and his friends are dead, the team has the perfect cover to continue their pursuit. An unexpected allies helps to smuggle them into Crater’s penthouse, but they are soon captured by his agents. Pluto must think fast to get himself and his friends out of this sticky situation and give Crater what he deserves.
“The Adventures of Pluto Nash” was finished in 2000 on a budget of nearly $100 million, but it was shelved for around two years before finally being released on Aug. 16, 2002. The film flopped due to poor special effects, predictable plot and noticeable lack of humor. In all truth, however, the movie is not as bad as critics claim, and much of its reputation can be attributed to poor advertising. For instance, the trailer made the film out to be an uproarious sci-fi comedy when it was truly more focused on sci-fi action.
Although “Pluto Nash” delivers a fun sci-fi adventure with an unexpected twist, it also falls short in a few respects. The acting at times feels stiff, and the story itself is often predictable and cheesy. From the effects to the costumes and set designs, the movie is reminiscent of films like “Total Recall” and “The Fifth Element,” but this also leaves the space-age film feeling unbelievable and dated. Although the unrealistic CGI does take away from the overall impact of this futuristic film, audiences must remember that it was completed in 2000.
Actor and comedian Eddie Murphy has been in a downward spiral for a long time, and many viewers would agree that “The Adventures of Pluto Nash” was not the best choice for the struggling comedian. Although many of the jokes fall flat, Murphy still does a decent job embodying his character as his acting is spot-on. Audiences expecting the charismatic actor to fill the film with jokes and hilarious mannerism may not be thrilled with his performance, but those expecting more of a science fiction adventure than a comedy may have a better time watching this film. The rest of the cast is decent in their respective roles, particularly Randy Quaid and Rosario Dawson. Even Luis Guzmán has some great moments on the screen.
As a comedy, “The Adventures of Pluto Nash” is a complete and utter failure, delivering jokes that are few and far between. However, as a sci-fi adventure, the movie delivers more than an hour and a half of light-hearted entertainment. This film does have a few strong points, however. Audiences who watch this film for what it is rather than what it was meant to be may find Pluto’s journey to be a worthwhile pick for a laid-back movie night.
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